Hey Eiger, I bet you hear this all the time, but you look good in snow.

This last weekend I decided it was time to go find the mountains in Switzerland.  I had originally planned on going the weekend before,  but the weather was predicted to be bad so I stayed home and scrubbed the floor and worked on my PhD.  A good time until the weather turned out to be 180 degrees from the forecast and it was one of the best days I have seen since I’ve been here!

Again, as the weekend approached the weather report was not very good.  This time I thought, “Maybe their trains run to the minute, but the Swiss are as good at weather prediction as the Canadians.  I’m going for it!”  Well this time they were right and I was in Grindelwald for the first snow of the season…

die Stadt Gindelwald Grindelwald after the snow.

Grindelwald is a small town in the Swiss Alps that is basically at the base of the Eiger.  It’s no wonder that it is snowing there in mid November and even with the poor weather the views were stunning.  Kind of like an attractive woman in sweat clothes, generally there’s not much to see, but every once in a while…wow!

die Eigernordwand The north wall of the Eiger.  If you look closely you can see the peak in the clouds.  Oh yeah, that’s it…mmmm.

Not wanting to miss out on the fun of being at the Eiger, I was determined to do something.  Since a round trip to the top of Jungfrau (the highest peak in the Alps) cost CHF 170 (!!!!!!) I decided that come hell or 8 cm of snow I was going hiking.  I couldn’t convince any of the other tourists at the hostel to go with me…so I headed out alone.  This isn’t as foolish as it sounds. It is Europe, so pretty much every inch has people and I was headed for the town of Kleine Scheidegg (map), so I could follow the railroad the whole way.  As an experienced adventurer I was sure to go properly prepared, so I strapped on my running shoes, put on my jeans and headed in to the winter.

michMe with a hole in the clouds.

meine Schuhe Four and a half hours of this led to some pretty wet socks.

I got to the town of K.S. about 12:30’30”.  The train back down leaves at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30… Damn their punctuality! I looked into the conductor’s eyes as the train left and walked inside to buy my ticket for the 1:30 train.  I was fairly cold at this point, so I just hid my head and waited for the next train.  Hey, at least I wasn’t walking down!

Cog rail The cog-rail of salvation.

The trip down was really cool.  The track steep, and always that feeling of, “man I hope these engineers knew what they were doing.”  Of course the trip down went smoothly and I found myself back at the train station 3 min before the train back to Interlaken.  This would have been sweet except that my bags were stashed in the ski storage at the hostel (which was now closed for a month for renovations) and the next train wasn’t for an hour.  Had I known that Claire was sailing around France in a free car at this point I would have known just where my luck was being siphoned off to!

Never mind.  I went back to the hostel and collected my bags before heading to the local sports center and into the pool.  I didn’t have a swimsuit, but they had hot showers and that was all I really wanted. The showers turned out to be a room with no door, open to the co-ed change room, so walked to the last stall and just stood in the water, all modesty frozen with my still wet feet.  As my feet thawed, so did my modesty and I retreated to my soggy trousers, but dry socks.  A quick watch check told me I had 40 more minutes, so much to the displeasure of the other patrons I spent 20+ of them standing at the hairdryer with my wet shoes.  Worked like a charm and I had dry feet for my trip home.  And that was sweet.

I wandered back to the train and my trip home was very smooth.  The law of averages was working in my favor and I never waited more than 5 minutes for a connection.

der Zug fahrt The trip from Gridelwald to Interlaken.

I will come back to this area, but next time there will be MORE SNOW, and I will be prepared with plastic footwear, two planks and waterproof clothing :)

4 Responses to “Hey Eiger, I bet you hear this all the time, but you look good in snow.”

  1. Daniel says:

    Hey Seth first of all, I´m honored to be mentioned in your blog :)

    The purpose of my comment is another one. The peak called “Jungfrau” isn´t the highest peak in the alps. The highest point of europe is a summit called Montblanc with 4800 metres… well now you can guess in which country it is located ;) I hope I don´t too much teacherlike…so you still call me your friend from Germany…

    Viele Grüsse und schönes Wochenende in Grenoble


  2. Seth g says:

    Hey Daniel,
    Thanks for the correction. The signs I saw must have been said that it was the highest peak in Switzerland. You know my translations…

    I saw Montblanc labeled on a map here in Grenoble as 4800m, and that thought was in the back of my mind.


  3. Catharine says:

    Hey Seth,

    I don’t really have anything to comment re: your blog (other than to say Switzerland is beautiful and we’ll have to come visit you guys there soon – in the Spring perhaps?), I just wanted to say hi quickly.

    Hope you and Claire are having a wonderful time in Europe. I’m slowly adjusting to life in T.O., also trying to do some travelling. I was in New York last weekend with my mom (who flew down from Vancouver) and I think Chris and I are planning on going to Ottawa in January to skate on the Canal. Otherwise, I’ve just been working (ps. 9-5, M-F is quite difficult after 8 years of being a student) and trying to explore a bit in Toronto.

    Anyways, miss you guys.

    Take care,

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